A Dozen Questions about Estonia en
en

The project introduces Estonia and Estonians through the answers, film clips, blogs and language tests.

All inspired by the 12 questions about Estonia.

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The birth of little Toomas.

Estonians are singing so damn well! I am not sure if it is their language or it is their way of pronouncing words, but I just love it! Even when they are speaking it sounds like singing. All those lovely vocals! I wonder if other foreigners agree with me or am I the only one who thinks that Estonian language sounds like one long beautiful song?

As far as I know singing has very strong meaning in Estonian culture and history. For example I have noticed that most Estonians, both very young and very old, belong to some choir. Liis’ mother told me that Estonians are quite unique with their high participation in different choirs. For me it seems like it is some kind of an unwritten Estonian rule to belong to some singing party. I guess otherwise they might get into trouble, like they have to dance or something (Estonians are MUCH better in singing than in dancing hehhee) :)

I have also noticed that Estonians’ love towards music has some kind of magical powers. If you have heard that Estonians are very shy and quiet then I can promise you that it all changes as soon as you let them to open their vocal cords! Singing takes away their shyness in a second. Also, my girlfriend’s family is strongly committed to music. In their family almost everybody has musical background and most of them can sing very well and play some kind of musical instrument. They are like little Estonian birds! No wonder that Estonian birds are flying away for winter. There is simply just too much competition here!

Once when we were in Liis grandmother’s place in Paide (heart of Estonia), her granny took out a tiny instrument called jews harf and played some very spectacular songs with it. I was very impressed as I’ve never seen or heard anything like it. I am sure that people who have never seen this instrument will find it very interesting or even funny as it doesn’t really resemble to a music instrument. At least in Morocco I have never seen anything similar to it. Also, I must admit that Estonian and Moroccan music is very different, especially traditional music. We are using many round drums and guitars and all the songs or rather rhythmical. Many of Estonian traditional songs are rather peaceful. But we have one thing in common – the popularity of guitar. Also, I heard that from now on all the children can learn to play guitar already at school as part of their studies. It is an amazing opportunity! So, all the music producers should run to Estonia to hunt those talented youngsters!

A little bit about one other topic as well. It is 30. august today and guess what… I am still in Estonia! And it seems like I am not gonna live this place any time soon, because a real miracle has happened! Estonia has another song to sing for a newborn Estonian-Moroccan baby-boy TOOMAS! I am the happiest man in the world! :)

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Before coming to Estonia, a couple friends of mine who had been to North of Europe before, warned me about the cold and quiet people that live up there. When I got here, I immediately understood what my friends meant by that. Seeing how people are so quiet was the first sign that made me realize that I am now living in a Northern country and how big influence the climate and the environment have to the people’s behavior. Certainly, those people don’t like expressing their emotions. Oppositely, they rather tend to be restrained and keep all the emotions to themselves. At least that’s what I thought.

At the beginning it was very hard for me to approach them. I was really confused and could never understand whether they are happy/sad/thoughtful/angry or all together. It was like a game where you need to guess and figure out their moods by just looking at their faces and body language. But I’ve got much better in this game by time! Now I can say that it is true that Estonians are very reserved and most of the time observing their performance, but they have their reasons to do so. Firstly, Estonia is so small and Estonians are not used to having many foreigners around them. Secondly, I have heard that Estonians have been told from the beginning that they are not allowed to talk to the strangers. So no wonder that they are not as chatty as the southern people!

I think Estonians stay often quiet because it is their way to show respect towards other people. Also the fact that we have reached to the point where you don’t even need to speak to each other because you can communicate with the help of many different electronic devices (and Estonians are extremely advanced on using them all) makes Estonians’ tradition of being silent even more logical.

The funny thing is that the more time I spend in Estonia, the more I see that Estonians are actually not at all as quiet as they first seem. They are not chatty in a way like southern people (because those people can speak days and days without breathing), but Estonians are chatty in their own way. The secret behind their quietness is that they simply don’t open their mouths if there is nothing wise to say! But as soon as Estonians feel like talking, they talk a lot! You simply just need to know how to defrost Estonians’ northern heart before you can have great long conversations with them. Since I know how difficult it might seem at first, here’s a little tip to all the foreigners on how to approach to an Estonian:

Firstly, talking to an Estonian goes much easier when couple of drinks have been brought out. Everybody gets chatty and lively and you can see the snow melting and flowers blooming with a glimpse of an eye.
Secondly: make jokes! As hard it might seem to at first, Estonians actually really love to laugh! The more ironic the jokes, the better ;)
Thirdly: don’t ask too personal questions and don’t force Estonians to talk. At first, talk about yourself and trust me, the Estonian will open himself up when he feels the time is right. So trust me, Estonians are actually good hosts and give wonderful experience to all foreigners with lots of joy.

Read more about Estonian’s character HERE!

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While waiting fro the train, I imagined how the Ülemiste Elder would look like. This is what I came up with.

Before landing to Estonia you might notice that there is a little lake just next to Tallinn airport. It might seem like just another small and boring lake, but actually the lake has an intriguing story behind it. What I have realized during my time is Estonia is that at first Estonia gives an idea of a very small and quiet country, but the country is actually full of never-ending legends and stories. I especially get the feeling of mysterious history when I am walking through the Old Town, taking some snacks from Olde Hansa café (the real Estonian restaurant!) and hearing some funny stories about their past or mythological characters. Anyway, the special lake I am talking about is Ülemiste, a lake that gives drinking water for most of the people in the capital, including YOU while you visit Tallinn! But that is not the only reason why Ülemiste Lake is so important!

As once my girlfriend’s brother explained me, there is an interesting legend behind lake Ülemiste. Inside the lake lives Ülemiste Elder who is a “guy with mission” who more or less everybody is afraid of. Yeah, I guess it is the story to tell to your kids if they are not behaving well. “Kids, if you are not eating your lunch properly, the old evil Ülemiste Elder will come and destroy all your toys and eventually your whole city.” That will make me eat for sure!

The actual story is about building that never-finished-city Tallinn. The legend says that on the moment you meet the Ülemiste Elder, he will ask you if the city is finally ready. Your answer needs to always be NO! Otherwise he will flood the whole city over with the water from his lake. I’m still not sure what kind of character he aims to be, whether an evil or a motivating old guy? He is good in a sense that he wishes to see the city constantly being developed, but the fact that he wants to flood the city does not make him the Estonian hero for sure. I find the last part of the story a little bit confusing and strange. But then again, I’m not an Estonian…

In case one day the Ülemiste Elder floods the whole country over with water, Estonians would be pretty much in trouble as their landscape is very flat and there are no mountains to run to. It is a joke of course, but seriously, in the beginning I thought it is a JOKE when I found out that the highest peak (Suur Munamägi, in english Big Egg Mountain hehhee) is only 318 m above the sea level. It is also the highest point in the Baltic States. Can you believe it?!? In contrast, the landscape in Morocco is famous for its incredible mountain ranges. My family back home had difficulties to believe that Estonia is just covered by enormous green flat fields and forests. I am sure they will be very surprised when they would come here and see the Nordic nature, cause Estonia will show them totally other side of the world and nature. Hopefully it will happen soon. By the way I tried to find some similarities about Estonian and Moroccan nature and I found one too! Both Estonian and Moroccan North and East parts are surrounded by water and their shape is kind of the same. Cool, huh? :)

Read more about Estonian nature HERE!

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The children who were running in the beautiful South-Estonian forest.

Last Sunday I went hiking with my friends in South of Estonia. While I was walking in the beautiful green Estonian forest, I started to think about one thing that I have noticed from the very first moment I arrived to Estonia – the close relationship between Estonians and nature. Nature is huge part of their essence and that is something you should know before coming to Estonia – just to understand them better. Sometimes it seems like rest of the world can do whatever they want, but Estonians are living according to their calendar of nature. For instance, I have noticed that alongside with cold weather and dark nights Estonians become more serious, quiet and wrapped up in themselves. On the other hand, as soon as the sun comes out, Estonians become cheerful, open-minded and active.

I have also noticed that a lot of Estonians’ beliefs are related to nature. They hope to get all the answers and support either from the trees or from the almighty Sun. All my Estonians friends who are reading it right now would most probably say that my last sentence is completely exaggerated, but there is a lot of truth in it, too. I have travelled quite a lot in my life and I have never before met a nation that loves nature so much! You will understand what I am talking about as soon as you come here and see the nature-loving Estonians in their small green paradise. And a paradise it really is! I have heard that Estonia has the cleanest air in the world, as 55% of its territory is covered with forests. So, all health-minded tourists, the country is yours!

During those two hours of hiking in the South-Estonian forest I once again became positively surprised by Estonian nature. The landscapes with variety of trees, bushes, never-ending fields, lakes, fantastic gulfs and moors are somehow so pure and magical. It is amazing how many green parks and forests are in Estonia! Before coming here, I was used to see cities be covered with only bricks and stones, but all the cities in Estonia are full of parks and nature! The green color literally rules the country during summertime here in the Baltics. And I have heard it gets even prettier in autumn when the leaves turn yellow and red. Can’t wait to see all the colors!

I remember that first time when I heard that half of Estonia is covered with forests and fields, I also imagined half of Estonia to be occupied by animals. Hahhaa! And not some usual animals, but real northern wild animals like polar bears, reindeers and wolves. So going hiking in a real South-Estonian forest gave me hope to meet all those wild Northern creatures. Did I manage to meet any of them? Well….of course not. Unfortunately, there were no reindeers, no polar bears. However, I still think there might be some pretty wild animals in Estonian forests. And I have every right to believe it. I even have some proof! After hiking when everybody else had already gone to the car, I went back to the forest to take some last photos. All of a sudden I saw two children running in the forest and screaming “jääääkaruu, jäääkaruu”. When I went back to the car and told my friends that there are some polar bears in the forest, all my friends laughed. They thought it was a joke I made up just because I so badly wanted to believe that Estonia has polar bears. To be honest, probably the children saw just some big hairy dog running around, but whatever, at least it keeps me dreaming about Estonian wild animals I hopefully meet one beautiful day.

Read more about Estonian’s climate and nature HERE!

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Visiting Kaali during my trip to Saaremaa.

Last week I had a chance to go to Saaremaa.  It is an island in the west of Estonia. Besides its pretty nature and delicious food, what makes it really magical is that cosmic meteor crater field called Kaali that is located in the middle of that island. Who would guess that 7,500 and 4,000 years ago a 20-80 ton iron meteor slammed into that little island and created 9 crater wholes (eight of them are comparably smaller, but still)!

The plan to go to Saaremaa was very spontaneous. We just wanted to have a little getaway from the city. The plan was to stay there for just one day cause we thought it is all the time you need to see all the main sights and places. In reality, we ended up being there for 3 days, because there was so much more to see! I went there with my Estonian friends, who took good care of me by showing me the most interesting places on that island (thanks guys). We had such a great time and those three days felt like 3 hours. We hiked, chilled at the beach, drove around, had a nice barbecue and so on. But most importantly, we went to see Kaali.

My curiosity about the meteor crater was built on all those interesting facts and stories I had heard before. My favourite one is the Estonian myth which records it as the place where the sun went to rest. “Uhmm what?” was my first reaction when I read it. I found it so funny. How exactly does the Sun bed look like and why not to have a little nap there, too? Also, I read that large number of animal bones have been founded inside of that immense stonewall around the crater, which suggests that the place was used for ritual sacrifices. Sound a bit creepy right? Actually, there are a lot of exciting stories about this place, but I am not going the tell you them all.

I was very thrilled the whole time in Saaremaa. I think I can say that I kind of fell in love with this nice and quiet island. It is so amazing to see and feel how everything is so calm and easy there. Moreover, I had the chance to see Panga Cliff and Sõrve Lighthouse. Sõrve Lighthouse is the closest spot from Latvia to Saaremaa (information for all the Latvian travellers). It was absolutely stunning! I got crazy loads of good pictures. I need to mention it, it is so true that Estonian nature is pure and beautiful and you feel that the green nature is surrounding you everywhere!

Now I am back in Tallinn and  I am already waiting for my next spontaneous trip to unfold that mysterious Estonian culture and secrets. Cheers!

Read more about Estonian nature HERE!

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Me and Liis at the amazing Estonian Song Festival!

When my girlfriend woke me up this morning and said that I have a great opportunity to experience some real Estonian life today, I had no idea what she was talking about. “The Song Festival takes place today. You should see it” she said. And I still had no idea what she was talking about.

“What is this place? What should we do there?” I asked. The only thing she answered me was: “We would sit there and sing together with 150.000 other people, and just be Estonians”. Me singing in a crowded place and trying to be Estonian. That sounds just wrong. Firstly, I cannot sing. Secondly, I strongly dislike crowded places. And thirdly, I am most definitely not an Estonian, so why should I go there? “Let’s go to the beach instead” I answered. After 5 minutes of discussing what to do and where to go, we decided to do both. First beach and then Song Festival.

We drove about 10 minutes away from city centre to Pirita beach. The sun was shining, the sand was silky and the water was warm. It almost felt like I am back in Morocco! It is amazing how compact Estonia is. You only need to drive 10 minutes and you are already at a beach. You drive three hours and you are already on the other side of Estonia.

Since Pirita beach is close to Lauluväljak, it was soon time to go to this crowded place. The closer we got there, the louder the music got. My girlfriend was as excited as a small kid in the candy shop. Me, on the other hand, stayed cool. We entered the Lauluväljak area, found our way through the masses and walked towards the Singing Arc.

Then it happened. My very first Song Festival. I couldn’t believe my eyes. About 200 000 people were standing next to each other and singing together. There are only 400 000 people living in the capital of Estonia so having half of them in front of you at the same time is something indescribable. Even though I couldn’t understand what the songs were about, hearing so many people singing at the same time is definitely something that every person should experience at least once in their lifetime. The sound was amazing and everybody around me were really happy. There were many people waving with small Estonian flags and wearing Estonian folk costumes, which, by the way, are really colorful and pretty. We also bought small flags and waved with them in the crowd.

When I got home later that night, I was still so impressed about what I just had experienced that I even couldn’t fall asleep. I spent two hours searching information about Song Festival and the things I found made me respect that event even more. For instance, I found out that The Estonian Song Festival (in Estonian: Laulupidu) is one of the largest amateur choral events in the world and that UNESCO has declared it as a masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. So amazing. And the fact that I am probably the first Moroccan who has taken part of it makes it even more amazing for me. I also found out that the  The Song Celebration tradition began already in 1869 and ever since it has taken place regardless of the political situation in Estonia.  I remember that we briefly discussed Estonia in our history classes in high school in Morocco, but back then this topic was so unclear to me. Now, after seeing this event and reading about Estonia’s history, I finally understand why the term “singing nation” expresses the Estonian identity so well and why all Estonians are so proud of being Estonians. I have never been interested in folklore music, but participating The Estonian Song Festival definitely made me change my mind.

Read more about Estonian culture HERE!

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Visiting the amazing Rummu beach

Hello again! I haven’t posted for a while because I’ve simply been too busy enjoying this beautiful small country called Estonia. Last 10 days have been the most amazing time of this summer. I’ve been travelling around in Estonia, done the craziest things and been to the coolest places ever! I’ve been riding a horse and canoeing in southern parts of Estonia, visiting the incredible Rummu beach, fishing and skydiving near the summer capital Pärnu and list goes on and on…

Travelling around in Estonia made me think over one funny thing about Estonia – its incredebly small size. When I heard about Estonia’s size for the first time, I was a bit scared I might get bored here, but actually Estonia’s small size is what makes it so unique. There aren’t that many countries in the world where you travel from north to south and east to west in just 3-4 hours or where you can take the boat and go to an island in 30-60 minutes. Thanks to all the short distances one can make super spontaneous decisions when travelling in Estonia. I as a curious and adventurous tourist am a perfect example of the spontanous travelling. At first our plan was to go to the summer capital Pärnu for the weekend. After 1,5 hours of driving we were already at Pärnu beach swimming and enjoying the hot sun. Once the weekend was over, we decided to be spontaneous and drive on to the south instead of heading back to Tallinn. And this is were it all started. We drove an hour and were in a new small town, we drove another hour and suddenly we were already in another town.

Since finding an accommodation is quite easy in Estonia, we decided to continue the impulsive travelling around Estonia. After 10 days we came back to Tallinn because my friend had to go back to work. If the decision was only up to me, I would have continued travelling for at least another 2 weeks. It seemed like there is so much more to see in every small town of Estonia! I definitely want to go back to explore this small country in near future!

Read more about Estonia’s size and location HERE!

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Estonia is not as cold as you think!

Today’s question: What does an Estonian do at weekends?

 

My first real Estonian sauna experience.

It is my third week in Estonia and I have already so much to share! You probably think that Estonia is a cold and chilly place, but I promise you, not always! They have their own way to balance it (especially at weekends). My wildest and craziest contact with the strong heat happened here in Estonia, which is very funny because I come from Morocco. Before coming to Estonia, I made jokes about the cold I have to cope with. Now I can say my biggest fear is how to manage the heat in those freaky Estonian Saunas. It is an experience, no doubt! And it is not only the heat! Its the whole process! Luckily/unfortunately (still cannot decide) I got my real Estonian sauna experience already on my second day in Estonia.

First of all, I was very surprised how relaxed and cool they felt being all naked in one Sauna room. Not because there is something wrong about it, but because of Estonians everyday attitude which is rather shy and reserved. Secondly, what is with all that mixing hot-cold-hot-cold?? As I have understood Estonians ideal Sauna experience is in winter time when you can run out straight from sauna and jump to the snow or lake which is cold enough to shock your body (by the way they call it “refreshing”) and make yourself wanting to go straight back to the hot room.

For Estonians going to Sauna at weekends is like going to church on Sundays for religious people. It is simply something that everybody is used to do. Estonians weekly sauna ritual brings all the family and friends together. I find it very nice and interesting tradition that people come together to share hot sauna and talk. For me it is still a bit funny reason, but I think that for me – Moroccan – there is no need to fully understand it.

Now, after having spent some time here, I start to enjoy the famous Estonian sauna experience more and more and understand their need for it. And I will most definitely never forget my first Estonian sauna time. It was hilariously embarrassing and it happened on the day I arrived. My very first day in Estonia and I was already thrown into such a challenge. This is probably the Estonian test for foreigners! I’m still here, so I guess I passed the test! After this experience, being fully naked with punch of guys in a small hot room is just as normal as having ten fingers and toes!

Read more about Estonians weekend traditions HERE!

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Trying to locate myself in Tartu.

Hello again! Today I am writing from Tartu. I had never been to Tartu before so I decided to spend my weekend in this small and artistic student city. And it’s been a lot of fun! For example yesterday me and my friends went to a huge student party here in Tartu and I once again felt how small the world is. There were at least 200 people at this party and it felt like everybody knew everybody! I heard tsau here and tsau there all the time. It felt like literally everbody knows everybody in Estonia! How is it possible?!?

When we were walking home from the party, I asked my Estonian friends if it is really true that all Estonians know one another. Like usually, they laughed first and then started to explain. They said that of course all Estonians don’t know each other, but many Estonians are somehow connected. Liis gave me a nice example aswell: the blonde tall girl she was small-talking to at the party is her schoolmate’s ex-girlfriend, who is also her English teacher’s daughter and they live next door to her grandparents, who were colleagues with her father’s advisor, who is friends with her uncle and so on… Or another great example: Karl’s (the guy who we are staying at in Tartu) girlfriend is good friends with Saara who’s father used to work together with Liis aunt, who now lives in the house that first belonged to Karl’s parents.

Okay, now I get it. Having only 1,3 million people living in one country really means that everybody is somehow connected. Can you imagine? How crazy is that! I come from a country with the population of 33 mln people and for me it is so funny to see how everybody (at least among the students in Tartu) know one another. These kind of things would never happen in Morocco. Anyway, I remember that when I first found out that there is only 1,3 mln people living in Estonia, I thought it is some kind of a joke and my biggest fear was to get really bored in such a small country. In reality, the more time I spend here, the more I start to like the fact that whenever I go, there’s almost always at least one person I’ve seen before. It really makes you feel like home in every part of Estonia.

Read more about Estonians and ethnic groups in Estonia HERE!

 

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Pööripäev aka the best summer night in Estonia

This is how my Estonian Midsummer party looked like.

My girfriend Liis was reading an interesting book Hõbevalge (written by Estonia’s former president Lennart Meri) the other day. She told me this book suggests that Kaali crater may be the origin of the midsummer bonfires tradition. And Midsummer’s Eve celebrations actually symbolise Estonia’s connection with its ancient past. So, whenever you have a vacation in June, plan your trip to Estonia around 23 of june! I promise you will have the best night of the year! The best celebration with lots of crazy traditions and mad way of fun.

What I truly love about being in Estonia is their four really notable seasons. You can actually see and feel the contrast. I must say that sometimes it seems like the dark winter is never ending, but as I mentioned before, Estonians know how to balance everything! There is that one day of the year when everybody forget all the misery and focus on the enjoyment of the brightest night instead. The night between June 23 and 24 is called Jaanipäev (Midsummer eve or St. Johns Eve). On that eve Estonia is covered with bigger and smaller bonfires around the country and I am thinking this is one of the reason why the night is the brightest! When I imagine Estonia on world map in this celebration day then I see it as a bright star blinking away o so specially.

As I have understood then most of Estonians have prepared for this night for months, piling up sticks and everything else made from wood to have bigger pile than neighbour. When the fire is set and burning on its brightest then they all dance and party around it and the craziest ones jump over the flames to chase away bad luck from home. When night get darker people go searching fern blossoms and glow-worm for good luck in love.

Also, I have noticed that Estonias , who are to be known as least religious people in the world, balance it out with traditions and rituals with earth, wood and fire to bring luck and happiness to your life and household.

Every year since I have been in Estonia I have celebrated Midsummer Eve properly. This year we went to my girlfriends grandparents village to have a nice and decent family chat and barbecue. But somehow while wondering around the area we still ended up in the beach party close to village where fairy atmosphere surrounded us all night. With band playing and bonfire flaming on a sand it felt like something just incredibly beautiful.

Definitely very dreamy and exciting night! I need to bring this tradition to Morocco too!

Read more about Estonian traditions HERE!

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One of my best Sundays in Estonia

In Tallinn Old Town - one of my favourite places in Estonia.

Hello, dear readers! The first days in Estonia have gone by really fast and it has been amazing time! Last Sunday I went to explore the beautiful Old Town of Tallinn. Definitely a must-see in Tallinn! While I was walking around in Old Town with my girlfriend Liis and I saw a small bakery called Eesti Kuningas (translation: Estonian King), it occurred me that I don’t know anything about the politics in Estonia. I didn’t even know who is the president of Estonia. t have been here for 5 days by now, but asking about such an important thing has never come to my mind. So today I finally asked about it and Liis explained me that throughout the history Estonia has been ruled by the Danish, Swedish, German and Russian power, but since 1991 Estonia has been the Republic of Estonia with a president (Toomas Hendrik Ilves) as chief of state. I thought it would be nice to meet the president one beautiful day, but I didn’t get my hopes up cause I knew that most probably it won’t happen. 

Anyways Liis made me a short guided tour in the Old Town on this beautiful Sunday that later became one of my best Sundays in Estonia. First, I was really surprised how many people were smiling at me on the streets. Maybe it was the sunny weather that made everybody to be so nice and kind. Or maybe the reason was that it was Sunday and people tend to love Sundays and sunny days. Tallinn’s Old Town is one of my favourite part of the town, so I wanted to see everything of it. And we walked literally on every street of Tallinn’s old town! I think we must have walked at least 10 kilometers. By the way did you know that Tallinn’s Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites? So awesome! If I would move to Estonia some day, Old Town would definitely be the place to live.

When we started to climb town from Toompea Hill, we stopped in front of the Parliament building to take some photos. While we were photoshooting, a middle-aged man passed by us. All of a sudden Liis got really excited and happy and politely said hello to this man. The man smiled back at us and said “Tere päevast” (“Good day”). There were also some other people on the street who all said “hello” to this man. I was really confused. What the heck was going on? Why everybody is being so nice and saying hello to each other today? Is it some kind of a be-nice-and-say-hello-to-everybody day in Estonia today? Or does sunny weather really has such huge effect on Estonians mood and behaviour? I had no idea what was happening. But I didn’t want to look rude so I also said “Tere” to everybody around me, at the same time having no clue who were the people I was talking to.

Right after the mysterious man had driven away, I asked my girlfriend who this guy was and what was going on. Liis just laughed like it would be totally normal thing, and said “Oh well, he is Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia.” Wait. What?! Did I hear it correctly? He is the president of Estonia? And he is walking around on the streets just like that? No polices and extra services? Just one security guard? Whooooa. I couldn’t believe it. It must have been some joke. I immediately googeled his name and there it was. Yes, it was him. The man on the photo in Wikipedia is the same man who I just said “Tere” to in my very very weak Estonian.

In Morocco, it would be completely impossible for Mohammed VI of Morocco (current king of Morocco) to walk around in the city among other citizens just like that. He has always many security guards and police cars around him. People would go totally crazy if the King of Morocco would be so close to them. It is a really big thing if someone gets an opportunity to talk to the King. It would be something that you tell your children and grandchildren. Something that the whole village would know and talk about for very long time. But in Estonia, as it turned out, many people have seen the President with their own eyes and the lucky ones, like me, even have had the opportunity to say hello to him.

Crazy Estonia. So crazy. And so unbelievably cool! This morning I didn’t even know who the president of Estonia is and 7 hours later I can say that I have talked to him. Definitely a Sunday to be remembered.

 

Read more about politics in Estonia HERE

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Tere!

At the moment “tere” is the only Estonian word I know. So far so good, right?

 

Arriving to Estonia.

Long story short – I am Omar, a student and freelance journalist from Morocco. I came to Estonia for the summer to be with my Estonian girlfriend Liis and discover a new and totally unknown country for me. I have been in this country for only 3 hours and I am already super excited about the time I’m going to spend here! I must admit that before meeting Liis I knew almost nothing about Estonia. I only knew that it is one of the Baltic countries, but I had no idea about its size, population, language, location, politics, history, culture etc. To be honest, the only words that came to my mind when hearing “Estonia” were tiny country, reserved people and cold climate… But then I came to Estonia!

The plan is to stay here for the whole summer of 2014! I have no idea what I am going to do here for such a long time, but hopefully it will be a lot of fun. Liis said she has many places to show me and many Estonians she wants me to meet, so most probably I will not be bored during my time here in Estonia. My first impressions of Estonia have already been really positive. Everybody I have met  have been nice to me. The only thing that is really funny for me is the language. Estonian sounds like some kind of a children language for me! All those äöüõä vocals and long words. It seems to be the most difficult language in the world! Hopefully I will manage to learn more than just “tere” (hello) one beautiful day.

Anyway, I am truly glad that you, whoever you are, have decided to read this blog! I will write about my experiences, thoughts and ideas about my stay in Estonia as often as possible. Since I have been here for only 3 hours and I already have million questions about Estonia, I try to make rule of one question per day. It will be easier for me and easier for all the Estonians who have to answer all my stupid questions :)

So, today’s question: Will I really survive in Estonia? Hahhaa, hopefully yes.

 

Cheers,

Omar

 

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